The Olympia Brass Band, formed in 1958 by alto saxophonist Harold Dejan soon became New Orleans top marching band. Many well-known New Orleans musicians were members of this brass band over its long and successful career - Manuel Paul, Willie Humphrey, Milton Batiste, Kid Sheik, Paul Crawford, Wendel Eugene, Allen Jaffe, Tuba Fats, Andrew Jefferson, Henry Booker Glass etc... Grand marshals were Fats Houston & Slow Drag Pavageau.
Olympia had, apart from their many local parade jobs, a regular gig at Preservation Hall on Sunday nights for many years. They toured Europe and Africa, played for Queen Elizabeth’s 25th wedding anniversary in London and for Pope John Paul on his visit to New Orleans.
Olympia Brass Band made many recordings over the years and this 1971 session for Audiophile Records is one of their best. Of special interest is Harold Dejan’s “Explanation of a funeral procession” and the dirge medley of “Flee As A Bird - Nearer My God To Thee - Pleyel’s Hymn” played from an old brass band arrangement. The rest of the LP consists of the then standard brass band tunes. These tunes are no longer played by New Orleans brass bands. Here is Olympia Brass Band in it’s full glory.